Derby County announce that England’s record goal-scorer Wayne Rooney will join the club from January 2020.
The 33-year-old will arrive from Major League Soccer outfit DC United on an initial 18-month contract until the summer of 2021, with the option of a further year.
Wayne will join the club as a coach and continue to develop his coaching credentials in preparation for a potential managerial career.
He scored 53 times in 120 appearances for his country and won an incredible 16 honours in club football to-date. He boasts over 700 appearances and 300 goals to his name in club football, including a record 253 for Manchester United.
Wayne will be assigned squad number 32 once he joins the Rams, will see out the 2019 MLS season with DC United before returning to the UK.
Derby Manager Phillip Cocu said: “Wayne Rooney is an extremely talented and top-class footballer. It is an exciting prospect for him to be joining Derby County and he can bring so much to this squad, both on and off the pitch. He has enjoyed a wonderful career, both in club football and for England, and he still has so much to give as well.
“His credentials speak for themselves. But to have a player with his leadership, skill, experience, character and work ethic will be huge for us. He knows what it takes to succeed as a player and I have no doubt he will have a positive impact right across the club.
“The inspiration and motivation this can generate is massive for all of our players from the first team right through to the youngsters in the Academy. It is entirely in keeping with, and in support of, the club’s philosophy and approach. I am looking forward to working with Wayne from the start of next year and welcoming him to the club.”
Derby County’s Executive Chairman, Mel Morris CBE, said: “We are absolutely delighted to announce that Wayne Rooney will be joining Derby County. This is clearly an exciting signing for us, and Wayne’s presence will further enhance the club’s standing and its ability to perform both on and off the pitch.
“To have Wayne Rooney as a player, and equally as an aspiring coach, is incredible and I can only imagine the buzz this will generate amongst our supporters at home and internationally.
“First and foremost, Wayne is joining us as a player but he will also have coaching responsibilities too, particularly around the development of our younger players progressing towards the first-team from our Academy, as he looks to gain his relevant qualifications for a future coaching and management career.
“I would like to express a sincere thanks to DC United for their professionalism throughout this process. We wish them every success for the remainder of their season.
He added: “Obviously, the commercial opportunities this creates are widespread and significant. On the back of Wayne joining the club, we have just been offered a record-breaking sponsorship deal with our principal shirt sponsor, 32Red.
“We are keen to leverage Wayne’s involvement and the support of 32Red with our community initiatives, expanding the work such as the Team Talk mental health programme which is supported by our Community Trust and 32Red. These are key initiatives to us as a club and demonstrate the benefits of commercial initiatives that are truly aligned to the objectives of all parties, club fanbase and community.
Wayne said: “I am very excited about the opportunity that Derby County have provided me with.
“I am looking forward to joining Phillip Cocu, his coaching staff and the first-team squad from the start of January. I am sure I can make a big contribution and can’t wait to meet everyone, especially the supporters.
“I am equally excited to begin my coaching career at Derby County working with both the first team and Academy.
“I must also take this opportunity to thank DC United, their owners, executives and supporters who have been superb to work with. I want them to know that I will give my all in support of our push for the play-offs.”
“After speaking to Wayne and understanding his difficult situation of being so far away from his family, we have accepted that this is the best decision for all parties,” Steve Kaplan and Jason Levien, D.C. United Co-Chairmen, said. “Wayne is an exceptional leader and one of the most iconic players to play the game, so we look forward to his continued contributions to the team this season.”
Triple S Sports & Entertainment Group Managing Director, Paul Stretford, said: “Today marks the latest chapter in Wayne’s long and successful career. He thoroughly enjoys living and playing in Washington – I believe that observers will agree that he makes vital contributions to DC United game-in, game-out.
“After lots of consideration, Wayne wished to return to the UK to be closer to his family. However, he was extremely conscious not to leave his manager, teammates and the fans, mid-season. As such, he will join Derby after the end of the MLS season. When he joins, Wayne will be helping Derby to push for promotion. He will also be able to hone his coaching skills, so that he is best placed for a potential managerial career.
“I would like to place on record my thanks to the MLS, DC United and Derby County for facilitating this unique arrangement. This move is the latest in what has been an exciting summer for the Triple S Group. Wayne joins Harry Maguire and Toni Duggan in making their own career-defining moves. We look forward to continuing to work with them all to be the best possible professionals.”